GNFL season 2022 preview: Northampton seeking to break finals footy duck

Lachlan AllenMidwest Times
Grady Tomelty in action against Rovers' Jamie Koric (left) in a file image.
Camera IconGrady Tomelty in action against Rovers' Jamie Koric (left) in a file image. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography/RegionalHUB

Northampton will be hoping to open round one of the Great Northern Football League season with a win against Chapman Valley on Saturday, following a disappointing end to 2021.

The Rams lost both of their finals last season, bowing out to Railways in the preliminary, after finishing second on the ladder.

Northampton league coach Grady Tomelty said the team was in a good place ahead of the new season.

“No, we’re quite fortunate, to only lose Harry Taylor back to Geelong,” he said.

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After a year at the Rams, Taylor accepted a coaching role with his former AFL club this year — a big loss for the side after he kicked 85 goals to break the club record.

”But other than that, all our players have stuck around, they’re obviously a year older and starting to work a bit better together,” Tomelty said.

Tomelty said he had a clear aim on what they needed to improve on heading into pre-season.

“We did a lot more skills work, a lot of our running included a footy in our hands, because yeah, we just need to tidy our skills a bit,” he said.

“We’ve got a pretty good group of guys around at the moment, so everyone bought into what we want to build on. We’ve got the foundations there from the past, five or six years but still haven’t won any finals yet.”

With the finals duck still on their back, Tomelty said he’s not getting too far ahead of himself.

“Obviously, coming into a season, you want to win the flag, but you got to take it one week at a time,” he said.

“We’ll focus on our structures and how we want to play.”

As a new coach this year, Tomelty said he was hoping to shape the club’s values around the town he grew up in.

“For me, it’s all about building a footy club around the community. I grew up in Northampton and seen it from before I can remember , we just really want to build on our values of community football.”

Last year’s season was marred by cyclone Seroja, but the Northampton community rallied together and the footy club was front and centre, giving locals something to look forward to and helping raise funds and spirits.

The town’s oval will be the stage for one of the 2022 season’s highlights, hosting four WAFL, WAFLW, GNFL and GNFLW matches on April 30 as part of a “festival of football” fundraiser to help in the Seroja recovery efforts.

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